We’re about a week away from Memorial Day and many of the summer events we look forward to in the Valley are already gone.

Discussions have shifted beyond Independence Day and to Labor Day. We wonder what is the rush to make decisions about September and beyond right now?

As we have said in this space before, among the biggest issues with COVID-19 is that we still don’t know what we don’t know.

Here in Pennsylvania, we’re a little more than a week into portions of the state going “yellow.” How we get to “green” is anyone’s guess, but rest assured it’s a long way off for everyone.

There’s little need for immediate answers. Will there be a fall sports season? Will local school districts and colleges return to campus?

Be patient. We will find out.

The summer calendar has already seen the likes of the Sunbury Celebration, Fourth of July celebrations in Mifflinburg and Lewisburg and Pineknotter Days wiped out. We are probably deep enough into the calendar to understand social distancing measurements will remain in place by then.

Colleges and Valley school districts are having conversations about the fall and beyond, balancing what is known against what the science and models say could happen.

Remember, this is a novel coronavirus. In many regards, the experts are fumbling around in a dark room looking for a light switch. Even when that switch is found, we can’t just flip it and start back to normal. Slow and steady will win this race.

This week, 23 colleges and universities in California announced they would not bring students back in the fall. Locally, officials at Bucknell and Susquehanna universities are taking a wait and see approach. Bucknell President John Bravman said Bucknell will open in the fall, although specifics on the academic calendar and what that opening will look like are uncertain.

At this point, there is nothing wrong with that. A time will come when a decision has to be made. Contingencies are in the works.

There is no need to come back too early or make a decision too soon about something a few pages away on the calendar. Experts learn more each day. Let them learn.

Maybe the best perspective comes from the University of Oklahoma’s football coach Lincoln Riley. When asked when student-athletes needed to return to campus to get ready for the fall season, he gave this answer: “In my opinion, we need to bring them in as late as we possibly can before we play a season. Every day early we bring them in is a day we could have gotten better. It’s a day we could have learned more about the virus. It’s a day PPE maybe gets better. It’s a day closer to a vaccine. It’s a day that our testing equipment and testing capabilities get better, and it’s just not worth it. So we’ve gotta be patient. We get one shot at this, and we’ve gotta do it right.”

What is the rush?

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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